COA flags National Printing Office deals worth P139M
The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered five officers of the National Printing Office (NPO) and 12 private printing firms to return to the government P139.46-million in payments for the “irregular” lease of equipment from January to March 2017.
In a notice of disallowance dated Sept. 6 and recently released to reporters, the COA said the NPO’s subcontracting deals violated Sec. 4.6 of the Government Procurement Policy Board Resolution No. 05-2010.
The resolution required the NPO to directly undertake the printing of official government forms and prohibited it from engaging any private printer.
Held liable for the transactions were director Francisco Vales Jr., acting financial management division chief Winifredo Talla, acting production, planning and control division chief Buenaventura Gonzales Jr., PPCD officer in charge Ruben Dancel, and budget section officer in charge Leah dela Cruz.
6 months to appeal
Also ordered to return the funds were the following subcontractors: Advance Computer Forms Inc., Bestforms Inc., Consolidated Paper Products Inc., Eastland Print Ink Inc., Holy Family Printing Corp., JI Printers Inc., Mercury International Security Printing Corp., Metrocolor Corp., Nova Business Systems Inc., Tone Guide Press Inc., Triprint Corp., and Western Visayas Printing Corp.
The COA told Vales to direct these persons and companies to “settle immediately the said disallowances.” They will also be given a chance to make an appeal within six months.
The deals with the private printers drew controversy after bids and awards committee chair Sherwin Prose Castañeda and 10 members resigned en masse on Nov. 21, 2016. The procurement officials complained of “too much pressure” from Vales—a former Davao City government official—to bid out the lease of printing machines to a favored contractor, according to a letter published in the NPO website.
One of the BAC members, Jennifer Tomas, withdrew her resignation a week later and claimed Castañeda told her to sign the letter even as she did not know its contents.
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